Volunteer Divers Needed for California Rock Reef Surveys

You and your dive buddy can help ensure the long-term sustainability of California’s rocky reefs. The Reef Check Foundation invites experienced divers to become trained in their California rocky reef monitoring program. Since 2005, Reef Check’s California (RCCA) Program has trained over 350 experienced recreational scuba divers to scientifically monitor California’s rocky reef ecosystem at 70 sites from Humboldt to San Diego. The program’s goal is to create an educated network of citizen-scientist divers that helps to improve marine management by providing decision makers with robust scientific data on a suite of 73 indicator species of fishes, invertebrates, and seaweed.

The same problems facing coral reefs around the world that have been documented by Reef Check’s International Programs since 1997, such as overfishing, habitat destruction and pollution, also are affecting California’s rocky reefs. Reef Check California has just announced the 2010 Training Dates that can be found at: www.reefcheck.org/rcca/training_schedule.php. Each training is held on two consecutive weekends with classroom and pool training the first weekend followed by six training and testing dives in the ocean the second weekend. Costs range from $200 — 300 depending on whether the field training is an overnight boat or two-day trips. Also included in the course costs is underwater survey equipment, the RCCA Training Manual and species identification flash cards. Classes fill quickly and there have been long waiting lists for the courses the past two years.

Taking action and becoming a trained Reef Check Diver allows you to join a group of dedicated divers from all walks of life including commercial and recreational fishermen, university students and conservationists who want healthier California rocky reef ecosystems and support science-based decision making.

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